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Dublin has been in the news recently for all the best reasons - the legalisation of same sex marriage, overwhelmingly voted for by the people of Ireland in a historic referendum. Many LGBTQ rights are now attained in the South of this island while those in the North continue to be denied what's rightfully theirs. So what makes Ireland such an attractive destination? OutUK's Adrian Gillan has been to visit the queer quarter of Dublin to find out if it's true the boys are just so pretty.
Oh, enthral my ears! In fact, the only hope to stop the gab beguiling in a land that bore the likes of Joyce and Wilde is to get lost instead in a pair of glinting Irish eyes set fair in a fresh lad's face. The Dublin gay scene is as friendly, playful and eccentric as you could want, spread out just nicely each side of the Liffey, under an hour away by air from most UK cities. The age of consent in this nation of boy bands and Euros is 17 for all persuasions.
The house where Oscar Wilde was brought up is open for guided tours. It's now owned by an American College and they've restored ground and first floors to their former Victorian glory.
On the city's north side, check out Outhouse on Capel Street, a not-for-profit LGBT community and resource centre which acts as a lively cultural hub with theatre space and events. The building also houses a newly refurbished library stocked with classic LGBT literature. If you're interested in history, The Irish Queer Archive at the National Library of Ireland holds the most comprehensive collection of material relating to LGBT history and literature in the country.

In front of Dublin Castle. Photo: Vichinterlang
You should try and plan your trip to Dublin around some of the city's numerous gay events. A 10-day festival culminating in the colourful Pride Parade, Dublin LGBTQ Pride is the city's biggest street celebration and takes place at the end of June each year. It's a celebration of diversity in modern Ireland with a great carnival atmosphere.
The celebrations are in full swing at the Pride Village in Merrion Square with some of the 15 or so events that gave the festival its fantastic character. Also watch out for the GAZE International LGBT Film Festival during the August Bank Holiday weekend, the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival that takes place across the city in May and the Bear Feile weekend in April.


Starting south of the river, is an area that's a particular boon for veggie queens, with bustling Cornucopia offering cheap pulses and gruels. It's very much a case of contemporary meets art nouveau in this gay friendly vegetarian restaurant which caters to various restricted diets.

Just over the river and in stark contrast, Inn on the Liffey often known as Out on the Liffey because of its gay heritage is best described as 'unpolished' - pretensions barred. It gets particularly cruisy and men-only on a Saturday, with its infamous mirror urinals where all can see all and often do.

Panti Bar on Capel Street hosts comedy, drag and is a prime location to spot unofficial 'Queen of Ireland' and national treasure Panti Bliss herself. This cosy little watering hole is a good location to unwind for after work drinks. But Panti Bar likes to throw a party at weekends and they are always kicking. The music is an eclectic mix of pop, indie, electro, disco, and rock.

Back across the river and The George is the scene's oldest and biggest bar - a tried and tested trouper. It has a low-lit front bar with velvet clad barstools and a club room for raucous DJs and live bands. The bar attracts all sorts with its timeless mix of karaoke and drag, it expands upstairs - most notably on a Saturday - from which gallery you can gaze down upon carefree gays shimmying away beneath.
Out and About in the Temple Bar area.
Photo: Vichinterlang
Tucked away in the heart of a trendy south Dublin on Parliament Street close to Dublin Castle and City Hall, Street 66 is a live musical bar with a fun function room. It's a couple of minutes walk from Temple Bar and a great place for lovers of disco, funk, soul and reggae and has a wide range of Gins, Irish Whiskeys, cocktails and craft beer. This is a gay friendly bar that's named after the reggae song by Linton Kwesi Johnson.

Legs still left on you? Well located on the corner of Kildare St, beneath The Earl of Kildare Hotel Peig's has a gay night on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

Boilerhouse is the largest, busiest sauna in town with all the booths and trappings imaginable, though some still stick to the smaller Dock attached to the Inn on the Liffey just back over the water. But if you like to work up a sweat outside, then cruise straight to the Papal Cross monument after dark in Phoenix Park north-west of centre - perhaps the Pope's most tangible legacy after his visit a few decades back.

Apart from all the shops and boutiques along Dublin's famous Grafton Street off College Green, you might find Basic Instincts of use for your mags, videos, leather and rubber requirements - something to suit all knobs and knockers. And for a spot of culture, you can pay homage at Oscar Wilde House where the self-declared genius spent his formative years with his family until the age of twenty one.

To find the best in accomodation in the city click the Bookings button below for great deals on a variety of Dublin hotels.

Basic Instincts (60a South William Street; T: 00353 1 671 2223)
Bear Feile (Website)
Cornucopia (19 Wicklow Street; T: 00353 1 677 7583)
Dublin LGBTQ Pride (Website)
GAZE International LGBT Film Festival (Website)
Inn on the Liffey (27 Ormond Quay Upper; T: 00353 1 872 2480)
International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival (Website)
National Library of Ireland (2 Kildare Street; T: 00353 1 603 0259; Website)
Oscar Wilde House (1 Merrion Square; T: 00353 1 662 0281)
Outhouse LGBT Community Resource Centre (105 Capel Street; T: 00353 1 873 4999; Website)
Panti Bar (7-8 Capel Street; T: 00353 1 874 0710; Website)
Peig's (Corner of Kildare St, beneath The Earl of Kildare Hotel)
Street 66 (33/34 Parliament Street; T: 00353 1 679 3369)
The Boilerhouse (12 Crane Lane, Temple Bar; T: 00353 1 677 3130; Website)
The Dock (21 Ormond Quay Upper; T: 00353 1 872 4172)
The George (89 South Great George's Street; T: 00353 1 478 2983)

Revised January 2018.


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